It takes courage to toss a vegetable directly onto white-hot coals. Just when you expect the whole thing to burst into flames, the sensibility of this ancient method for preparing eggplant unfolds in front of your eyes. The eggplant chars and blackens, spits and hisses, releasing fragrant steam while it collapses and becomes irresistible. The flavour of smoke and char permeates the eggplant turning the vegetable into something entirely new. Once the blackened skin is removed, the resulting pulp makes a perfect spread.
Charred Eggplant, Beef Kofte, Chickpea Flatbread
A vendor at the farmers marked had plump perfect eggplants for sale. They took me completely by surprise (the August vegetable this is), but these ones were made available to us in May through the magic of a greenhouse. Finding them led to a Middle Eastern inspired meal featuring other farmer market finds.
For the Charred Eggplant
- Chargrill, or roast, 2 eggplant
- Once cooled, peel off the burnt skin and mash them in a bowl with lemon, olive oil, crushed garlic, and salt and pepper. Mix in 1/3 – 1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt
For the Beef Kofte
- We try to buy good pasture-raised beef raised ethically and treated with care by the butcher. Today’s beef came from here. Source out a good butcher near you. Proper meat is worth tracking down and is not significantly more costly than the mountains of plastic wrapped, anemic-looking stuff in the supermarket.
- I seasoned the meat with cumin, coriander, allspice, sumac, cilantro and green onion. They were quickly shaped into little torpedos and left to rest 20 minutes before being grilled.
The charred eggplant dip played off the hot, flavourful kofte and was excellent scooped up with some crispy farmers market radish and our favourite chickpea flatbread found here.